Get a jump start on planning your next European vacation. Visit Italy, one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Italy has so many great cities, charming little towns, quaint fishing villages and picturesque wine regions, it’s hard to choose which ones to visit. Florence, Venice and Rome (each rich in history, art and culture) are particularly dear to our hearts – we honeymooned there 🙂 It’s no surprise to us that it has consistently been voted one of the most popular destinations in Europe. The Italian people – and the food – are wonderful too!
Take a scenic drive along the romantic Amalfi Coast – regarded by many as Europe’s most beautiful stretch of coastline. Go to the tiny hillside town of Positano, the Bay of Naples, the Ruins of Pompeii, Vesuvius, and the beautiful island of Capri.
Visit the Italian Riviera’s trendy fishing village of Portofino – one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful ports. Walk the scenic hiking trails of the enchanting Cinque Terra – the trails link five small villages nestled on a rocky coastline overlooking the Mediterranean (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore).
Florence – Tuscany
Enjoy wine-tasting in the picturesque Italian region of Tuscany. Visit its capital city Florence, renowned for its art, history and culture. Home to iconic landmarks and magnificent masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture, it’s one of our favorite Italian cities. See the world-famous statue of “David” by Michelangelo at the Accademia Gallery. Visit the Uffizi Gallery and the Bargello Museum. Admire incredible views of the River Arno as you walk across Florence’s oldest and most famous bridge – the Ponte Vecchio. Packed with little shops, jewelry stores, and vendors selling Italian leather, it’s a perfect place to pick up a special Venetian gift or souvenir. Florence is located approximately 150 miles northwest of Rome (and about a 3-hr train ride from Venice).
The best way to see Venice is on foot. Have fun exploring this magnificent city on the water. By day or night, a Gondola Ride through the city’s Grand Canal is a must-do, especially if it’s your first visit to Venice. Stroll through St. Mark’s Square & Bell Tower. The famous pigeon-filled landmark is a popular place with locals and tourists alike. It’s a fun place to relax over a cappuccino and people-watch. See Doge’s Palace, one of the most famous buildings in Venice – representing Venetian gothic architecture at its best. Visit St. Mark’s Basilica, the most famous church in Venice. It’s located in St. Mark’s Square, near the Doge’s Palace. See Frari Church, one of the greatest churches in Venice. Walk across the famous Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge across the Grand Canal. And be sure to take a gondola ride under the Bridge of Sighs. Legend has it that if you kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge, you’ll be assured “eternal love.”
Rome is the most popular city in Italy. It’s home to historical monuments, Roman ruins, fabulous museums, and Renaissance masterpieces. We always recommend taking an open-top Hop-On Hop-Off Double-Decker Bus Tour when visiting cities for the first time. Enjoy full 360-degree panoramic views as you travel along your route. It’s a great way to see all the top sights at your own pace. Must-see attractions in Rome include: Borghese Gallery, Capitoline Hill and Museums, Catacombs of Rome, Colosseum, National Roman Museum, Palatine Hill, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Sistine Chapel, Spanish Steps, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trevi Fountain, Vatican City and Vatican Museums.
Bellagio and Lake Como
The beautiful alpine town of Bellagio sits on the banks of Lake Como, just north of Milan. Nestled at the tip of a peninsula separating the lake’s two northern arms (Como and Lecco), it is one of the prettiest and most romantic towns in Italy – if not in Europe. Stroll along Bellagio’s steep narrow cobblestone streets, lined with quaint little shops and enjoy the resort’s spectacular mountain and water views. Lake Como, with its views of the Italian Alps, is one of the most scenic spots in Italy. Popular with celebrities and the jet-set crowd, Lake Como is renowned for its fabulous villas and is home to the fastest speedboats in Europe. It’s also a popular venue for sailing and windsurfing. Best times to visit Bellagio and Lake Como are during Spring and Fall. July and August are peak travel times, so expect hot weather and crowds.